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Celebrating the women that inspire us this International Women’s Day

Marked annually on 8 March, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and an opportunity to advocate for equity.

08 March 2023
Willow Jones Maria De Souza

Australia

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As the saying goes – you can’t be what you can’t see – and that’s why this year, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the RPS women who are not only kicking goals in their careers but challenging a few gender norms and inspiring others along the way.

Nominated by their colleagues meet Elisa, Willow and Maria…

Elisa McLennan, RPS Director - Economics | Melbourne Victoria Australia
Elisa McLennan, Director - Economics

Q Tell us about your career and role at RPS

I’m a Director in our Strategy & Investment Advisory practice, specialising in economics and business case development for infrastructure projects. Throughout my career I’ve enjoyed working across the government, industry and consulting sectors, and I have a passion for multi-disciplinary projects that bring together a diverse range of people and specialities.

Q Name some women leaders who inspire you!

At an industry level, I’m inspired by Dr Angela Jackson – she continues to drive change for the better in Australian public policy, particularly on women’s economic participation. I’m also inspired on a day-to-day basis by my colleague Anna Mitchell – she approaches everything with an attitude of positivity and enthusiasm, and that there is always a way!

Willow Jones, RPS HSSEQ Administrator | Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Willow Jones, HSSED Administrator

Q Tell us about your career journey

I started with RPS in 2006 as a Business Support Officer, this is actually my first office job! Since starting with RPS (or Harper Somers O’Sullivan as we were known in Newcastle, NSW back then), I’ve had a few different roles within the admin team, eventually becoming the office manager.

During the pandemic I had a lot of time to reflect on my career and the parts of my job that I really loved and the parts that I didn’t enjoy as much, this reflection led me to my decision to study work health and safety (WHS) through TAFE and change my career.

I’ve always been interested in safety and had been encouraged by colleagues in the safety team to pursue it as a career. Luckily for me an opportunity opened up in the HSSEQ team while I was studying and I was able to move into the team who were all so supportive and incredibly helpful.

Q Who are the women in your life who inspire you?

The woman who inspires me the most is my desk mate Belinda Judd. We’ve worked together for the last 13 years and have become quite close. She started as my manager and I’ve learned so much from her about business and life in general.

We’ve had a lot of similar career and personal obstacles and opportunities over the years and I feel that Belinda has gone ahead, shared the lessons she’s learned and mentored me along the way. The way Belinda tackles everything head-on, her work ethic and generous attitude inspires me every day.

Maria Da Cunha, RPS Project Manager | Perth Western Australia
Maria Da Cunha, Project Manager

Q What does a day at work look like for you?

In my role as a Project Manager at RPS, I contribute to delivering high-value, multidisciplinary projects. I am involved in various stages of a project’s life cycle including design, procurement, and construction for a range of facility and infrastructure works. I love overcoming the challenges associated with complex multidisciplinary projects and being able to witness and contribute to the progression of a project from design to completion.

Q Shout out some of the women who inspire you!

My colleagues at RPS are immensely supportive and I am inspired by each and every one of my project management team. Senior leaders in my local network including Meg McFarlane, Tricia Qiu and Charlotte Whitelaw inspire me with their leadership and unwavering commitment to their respective roles.